Academique offers three different trade courses for international students:

  • CPC30611 Certificate III in Painting & Decorating,
  • CPC31011 Certificate III in Solid Plastering and
  • CPC30211 Certificate III in Carpentry

Each course has a registered work component of 400 hours. In addition, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) requires you to submit evidence of your work experience as part of their ‘Job Ready’ program. Their guidelines are available on their website at the following link:

You should read their guidelines and if you have questions, give them a call on 1300 360 992.

We asked our new Student Services Manager, Babi Aguilera some of the more common questions students ask.

Do I need to find my own work experience?

Many students are already working in their chosen trade, but others have never worked on a construction site. Whatever the case, we can help. Since I started here, I have placed many students with little or no experience and helped many more with their arrangements. I have established many contacts in the construction industry, and I am confident we can get you a start. If you find a job, let me know and I can check whether the supervisor/employer has the necessary skills and experience to match TRA’s guidelines.

When should I start my work experience?

This is a great question and often depends on your experience and how long you have been studying with us. Students who have never worked on a construction site need to understand workplace safety rules and regulations including working safely at heights and how to communicate. These are some of the topics we will teach you in the first six months of your course, and your trainer will determine when you are ready to start.

How long do I have to get my 400 hours?

Your hours need to be logged before the end of your course, so approximately two years. Given that students on a student visa can work 40 hours per fortnight (and full-time during research breaks), there will be plenty of time for you to get your hours. If you have been studying for twelve months and you are yet to start your work experience, come and see me.

Do I get paid for my work experience?

The short answer is that it depends on your particular placement. Without any experience, many students will start with unpaid work. Employers are more likely to ‘see how you go’ in the early stages so it will be up to you to show them that you are a reliable, hard worker.

What is the difference between paid and unpaid work experience?

The biggest difference (other than money) is the evidence that you will collect for your Trades Recognition Job Ready program application.

Basically, TRA recognises two types of work experience and students can do either, or a mixture of both. These are as follows:

  • Paid work experience or
  • Unpaid work experience (Vocational Placement)

Paid Work Experience is when an employer or contractor pays you for the work. There are strict rules about who can supervise you, the type of work that counts, and your payment evidence.

Finding the right type of supervisor can be a little tricky but I can help. It is important that they have the evidenced ‘relevant’ industry knowledge and experience to meet TRA’s ‘supervision requirements’.

The types of jobs or tasks you can do will depend on your trade. TRA use the Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘standard classification of occupations’ (referred to as ANZSCO) to guide them so it’s best you check that. Once again, if you are not sure, come and see me and I can help.

You will need to collect evidence that shows you worked the hours, and this may include invoices, bank statements or payslips. The rules require that TRA will need to see the hours worked on your documents or at least an hourly rate.

Once you start, you will record your hours in a logbook which must be signed by the supervisor at least weekly but best if done after each day’s work.

Important things to remember:

  • Students can work for multiple employers with their Tax File Number (TFN) but if they choose to be a subcontractor and use an ABN, they can only count the hours worked with ONE contractor.
  • You will need a statement from your employer or the contractor confirming that you did the work. The ‘Job Ready Program’ guidelines clearly highlight what information the statement should include.
  • Insurance is important. As a paid worker, your boss will be responsible for any workplace accidents, so it is important that you are sure they have insurance.

Unpaid work experience or Vocational Placement is established when the College, the student and the business/supervisor establish an unpaid work agreement. This agreement is especially important because without an agreement there are insurance risks, and you cannot count your hours.

Unpaid work agreements must be collected from the Trade Excellence Centre and, once signed, returned to me with evidence that clearly shows the supervisor’s qualifications.

Important things to remember:

  • Do not start unpaid work until Academique has signed your agreement and given you an unpaid logbook. We cannot sign for hours that happened before the agreement was signed.
  • Get your logbook signed every day if you can but at least weekly.

What happens if I work more than 40 hours?

You should always follow the conditions of your student visa. The Department of Home Affairs has strict rules attached to student visas and you should always speak to your Migration Lawyer or Agent if you are unsure. Your course has a CRICOS-registered work component which is particularly important to how many hours you can work.  

What happens if I do not complete the 400 hours?

Because your trade course has a registered work component of 400 hours, not completing these hours will mean that you have not successfully finished your course. You will receive a statement of attainment for the units you completed satisfactorily but will not receive a Certificate III in your chosen trade.

I have more questions, what should I do?

Understanding the work placement hours can be difficult. Remember that ‘Trades Recognition Australia’ is the authority, and reading their guidelines will help.

But please, feel free to come and see me at the Trade Excellence Centre (Office hours Monday to Friday) or call me on 0488 688 382.

Who is the Student Services Manager?

Babi Aguilera is Academique’s Student Services Manager. Babi is originally from Brazil but now calls the Gold Coast home. Babi has both a hospitality and education background, having spent the past 12 years working with international students.

Babi has a passion for helping students and has dedicated much of her time learning and understanding the processes related to the Job Ready Program and a student’s journey here in Australia. In particular, she knows what it takes to be successful with your future TRA application and related visa. Everyone in our team wants you to be successful, and Babi is dedicated to your workplace success. She loves helping our students to join the Australian construction industry workforce. Being there throughout our student’s journeys and giving them the tools to succeed make us enormously proud here at Academique 😊

Our Student Services Manager, Babi Aguilera, with CPC30611 Certificate III in Painting & Decorating students.